Published on : Sunday, August 20, 2017
A survey conducted by Cork Chamber of Commerce found that 77% of the respondents endorsed the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC) call for a €12m annual fund to minimize the Brexit effect on tourism. West Cork has always seen a lot of British tourists, while East and South Cork are also popular.
While there has been a 21% spike in North American visitors to Ireland, visitors from Britain dropped 6.4% in the first half of the year. Britain has long been a pivotal market for Irish tourism.
Cork Chamber President Bill O’Connell said: “There is a lot of awareness around borders, customs, imports, and exports, which undoubtedly are major threats that need to be addressed as high priorities. However, with visitor numbers from the UK dropping, it is widely acknowledged by our member base that further supports are needed to protect the tourism sector from the vulnerabilities of Brexit.”
Mr O’Connell added that it was “critical that protection of Ireland’s most indigenous employment sector is high on the agenda” in Brexit strategies.
Cork Airport managing director Niall MacCarthy said, “One in nine Irish jobs depends on tourism. Tourism Ireland’s marketing budget urgently needs to be increased so we as a country can fight to retain our UK visitor numbers and diversify into new markets. The time to act is now. It would be too late to wait until after Brexit has happened to take effective action on tourism.”
Chief executive of ITIC, Eoghan O’Mara Walsh, said that the Government has to “step up to the plate” to rescue tourism from the impact of Brexit in the wake of the UK election because it is “much too important to the regional economy to be taken for granted”.